For the second time in three years, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting has been opened with an invocation from satanist Iris Fontana, representing the Satanic Temple.
After the borough lost in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of three non-Christians, it must allow just about anyone to give an invocation.
This was Fontana’s second trip to the microphone to invoke the name of Satan over the local deliberating body. During her 2016 invocation, Fontana closed her remarks with “It is done. Hail Satan.” That was the phrase that changed the borough policy, an action that resulted in a lawsuit. The entire controversy has made national news.
This time, a few in the room walked out before the invocation, including Assembly members Norm Blakeley and Paul Fischer, Chief of Staff James Baisden. Mayor Charlie Pierce showed up late. Several audience members walked out. As before, Fontana closed her invocation with “It is done. Hail Satan.”
Local media posted a photo of Mayor Pierce with his head bowed, but in fact, he was not in the room.
Later, during the public comment section of the meeting, Nikiski residents Michele Hartline and Paul Huber offered Christian prayers as their comments. A protest outside attracted about 25 Christians who objected to Satan being offered a seat at the proverbial table.
The July 2 meeting will be opened by Greg Anderson, who warned that his message would also be challenging. In September, Barrett Fletcher, of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, will offer an invocation.
Earlier this year, Carrie Hansen, member of a local atheist group, offered the invocation.